FRIENDS OF THE WAR MEMORIAL PARK – TREES, PLINTHS AND PLAQUES PROJECT
We are working with the excellent Council Parks team to try to achieve a full restoration and renovation of the commemorative plaques in the park, ideally in time for the Park’s 100th birthday celebrations in July 2021.
The War Memorial Park was opened in July 1921 to honour Coventry citizens who lost their lives during World War 1.
In addition to the large Memorial monument at the north end of the Park, there are small individual memorials throughout the landscape. Each memorial comprises a tree, a simple stone plinth, and a metal plaque dedicated to the memory of the person in whose honour it stands.
Since the Park opened nearly a century ago, the memorial programme has expanded to cover more Coventry citizens who have died in conflict and there are now 678 individual memorials. But, as anyone walking through the Park cannot fail to notice, there are quite a few trees and memorial plaques that are missing, broken, or now in some form of disrepair.
Damaged and missing plaques
In August 2019, a small group of volunteers from The Friends of the War Memorial Park set out to try and right this wrong.
Friends’ members Gill Mills and Robert Bristow researched the extent of the problem, and what it would take to replace the missing trees and restore the damaged plinths and plaques. Robert Bristow, assisted by Paul Thomas, surveyed every single memorial in the Park, compiling a complete list that showed: 25 missing trees, 63 missing plaques, and a further 21 plaques sitting in the Park’s stores waiting to be cleaned and restored to their correct positions.
Using this survey and working with the excellent Council Parks team, they then worked out how much it would cost to complete the full restoration and renovation project; ideally in time for the Park’s 100th birthday celebrations in July 2021.
As a result, the Friends of the War Memorial Park launched a campaign to source funding of £15,655 to replace all the missing trees, and restore every damaged or broken plinth and plaque and are optimistic that funds will soon be made available. The Park’s maintenance team have now commenced installation of the 21 plinths and plaques that were held in store.
Once the funding is raised and the work is complete, the Friends aim to create a definitive map and guide to all the individual memorials, which will be available in the Park’s Visitor Centre. This will make it easier for relatives to find their own family member’s memorial. It will also enable Park visitors and schoolchildren to understand a little more of the history of the Park, and their city.
Above all, it will fully respect the sacrifices made by Coventry’s sons and daughters in conflict so that we will always remember them.
What we are working towards …
LEST WE FORGET